So, the last time we spoke, I was in a period of enforced rest after something went “twang” in my lower back and I’d spent the last few days walking like a dysentery-ridden cyberman. I was also on the verge of heading out for my first run in what would be over a week.
I’d decided that D-Day would be Thursday, after work. I was spending the night in Bedford to attend a works do, and had a few hours to spare between clocking off and partying on. Arriving at my hotel, I didn’t have to look at my watch to know that it was exactly Run O’Clock*and so quickly got changed and headed out into the mild afternoon air. To say I was nervous was the understatement of the week** and the slight throb in the left hand side of my lower back had spent the last couple of days whispering to me about how it was ready to flare up once more into rigid agony if I so much as thought of doing something as silly as, say, ever running again.
Um… I’d just like to go on record and say that despite that last paragraph, I’m definitely not the sort of person who has conversations with his back, whispered or otherwise. For starters, my belly never lets it get a word in edgeways.
Anyway, I left the hotel and trotted off along the embankment of the River Ouse. A couple of ducks qua…
Surely that should have been ”hobbled”, as in “hobbled off along the embankment of the River Ouse for about 12 feet, before turning and clawing my way back to the hotel, every movement accompanied by the sound of twisted bone grinding against fiery muscle. A couple of ducks qua…”
But no, I was definitely trotting. In fact, it was practically a canter. Sure, the dull ache at the base of my back was still there, but it seemed totally disconnected from the mechanics of running. The linear motion didn’t appear to be aggravating it at all, although I knew that if I’d instead opted for throwing kettlebells around or messing about with a hula hoop then it would have been a different story entirely. It was like a hungry, mean old troll who happens to be vegetarian and so ignores all manner of goats, lambs and fluffy bunnies that come trip-trapping over his bridge because he’s only interested in turnips.
I’m not very good at metaphors.
I didn’t really have a goal, mileage-wise, mainly because I hadn’t planned on managing more than a few steps before having to admit defeat. So on I plodded, and before I knew it I’d eaten up four miles, then five, then six. Incidentally, it was around this point when I spotted a sign for a fishing spot called (ahem) “Bombhole Lake”. Am I really so childish that I’d spend a full mile of my run coming up with smutty innuendo? Of course I am.
The run was uneventful, but for once this was a definite bonus. I’d been expecting it to be VERY eventful, by which I mean the bad kind of eventful (generally involving several instances of the word “spasm”) rather than the good (stumbling across a litter of tiger cubs who think I’m their daddy and then, when they’re fully grown, follow me around everywhere doing my bidding like a gaggle of stripy henchmen).
On the home stretch, with just three miles to go, I realised just why I love technology so much. Feeling that I’d earned a slap-up feast to replenish my energy stores (and to celebrate still having an intact spine) I decided that once I’d arrived back at my hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes, I would head out for dinner at a certain popular Portugese grilled chicken franchise (Okay, it was Nando’s, this isn’t the BBC). But then I realised that my phone was in my pocket…
And so a couple of minutes later I was striding along at a comfortable 10 min/mile pace, cheerfully placing my takeaway order with a bemused chicken person. I’m guessing that when a heavy breather rings up, the staff are more accustomed to hearing “what are you wearing?” than they are “please may I have a double chicken pitta and some of those bean things please?”
Half an hour later I was jogging back to my hotel room, brown paper bag of chicken-y goodness clasped triumphantly in my hand.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Bombhole Lake to wave my rod around and see if I end up catching anything.